Bob Johnson's Blog on Higher Education Marketing

July 2016 Archives

12 Courses in 12 Months: Easy to Scan Program Requirements

Students planning to enroll in online programs want to know what courses they will take to earn a degree or certificate. Today's Link of the Week makes that especially easy to do.

At Full Sail University you can earn in Master's degree by completing one course a month for 12 months. Our Link of the Week page lets visitors scan the titles of each course in less than 5 seconds as a laptop or desktop screen opens. You can then click immediately on a course that interests you to see a description of the course. 

Mobile visitors will see the first two courses with just a short scroll required to scan the remaining ones. 

On mobile, the 57/100 Speed rating on Google PageSpeed Insights is slow despite the simplicity of the page. Google puts the blame on slow server response time. User Experience rating is a robust 99/100.

To review a strong example of how potential students can easily review the courses required for a degree, visit this Full Sail University Course Schedule page.

Original Link of the Week Page

Regular readers will notice that we are again posting a Link of the Week selection within the blog. My website editing software is not editing at the moment. Until that glitch is fixed, Link of the Week selections will appear here.

To review selections for 2016 and earlier, visit the usual Link of the Week page.
Future Student Top Task Leads on Mobile Home Page

In a design era when live video is the new hero image of choice as a home page opens, University of Glasgow deserves credit for staying with two static blocks at the top of the page, each with just 4 easy-to-scan links:

First, in the high visibility upper left position, are 4 "Study" links:
  • Undergraduate degree programmes
  • Postgraduate degrees
  • Online programs
  • International students
Next to that are 4 "Research" links:
  • Postgraduate research opportunities
  • Research units A-Z
  • Research in focus
  • Business and Innovation
To the left of those top blocks is a list of 7 "Quick Links" that read as if they are indeed high priority paths for people visiting the site:
  • Colleges
  • Research Institutes
  • Schools
  • Maps and Travel
  • University Library
  • Information for current students
  • Information for new students
The home page still uses a carousel. But that appears underneath the main content blocks and does not distract the visitor from them.

On mobile, a visitor will first see the 4 "Study" links. That's ideal for potential students whose first task is most often to learn what programs are being offered at a university. Google PageSpeed Insights gives a 67/100 for Speed and a 95/100 for User Experience. 

To visit a university home page that gives top priority to important pathways rather than hero images or videos, visit the University of Glasgow.

July greetings to everyone. 

If you work at a college or university, ask me for an invitation to the Top Tasks: Higher Education Website Content group on LinkedIn. 

We have 159 members, most from the U.S. with others from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden, and Trinidad and Tobago, and the U.K. Join to read the questions people ask and the replies received about how to make sure your website best meets the needs of the people who use it.

Just reply to this email and ask me to send you an invitation to join the Top Tasks group on LinkedIn. 

My presentations from the Academic Impressions conference on Improving Your Student Recruitment Communications conference last month are online. "Evaluating Your Institutional Website" is at and "Affordability and Financial Aid Communication" is 
Conference Events in July, August, December

July 20-21 I will be at the Connect Higher Education Summit sponsored by Learning House for a presentation on "Best Website Elements for Recruiting Online Students." Review the program and register at 

The eduWeb Digital Summit is August 1-4 in Denver for a new pre-conference workshop: "Top Task Content and Design: A Strategy for Website Marketing Success." Details at 

December 4-7, Orlando: "Digital Marketing Strategy: Surviving and Prospering in a Changing World," pre-conference tutorial at the AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education.

Join 7,230+ followers on Twitter at for my daily marketing updates.

And now here are your July marketing news and notes.
Cartoon of the Month: Content Marketing and the Marketing Echo Chamber

Do we as marketers spend too much time talking to other marketers? Tom Fishburne asks that question in the context of the content produced by content marketers for other content marketers. See 
The Future of the Internet: Mary Meeker and Internet Trends 2016

Mary Meeker has devoted followers who eagerly await her annual insights on the most important trends impacting the Internet. This year's complete 213 slide presentation is 

For a fast review of key marketing points made by Meeker, Lauren Johnson has culled 22 topics "that marketers need to know" in an easy-to-scan format from AdWeek at 
Very Different Landing Page Designs: Drexel University and Creighton University

A classic, time tested design for a successful landing page for your online advertising: Creighton University at 

A different approach that follows the design format on many of today's home pages: Drexel University at

One key element in common: Short, easy to complete inquiry forms. Both Creighton and Drexel know that the longer you make the inquiry form the fewer people will complete it.
Effective Video Marketing: 10 Cost-effective Examples

Video is playing an increasing role in effective marketing, if done right. And done right does not always mean large budgets and super professional production values that sometimes actually decrease credibility.

For links to 10 video efforts from large universities and small colleges visit "Video Content for the YouTube Age" at 
Public Universities and Net Price: Reducing Tuition Costs for Lower Income Students

Which of the 650+ public universities in the U.S. do the best job of lowering tuition for students with annual family incomes of less than $30,000?

Jon Boeckenstedt gives you the ability to easily read the data in one of his "Higher Ed Data Stories." Check the trend at individual schools since 2008. Compare levels within individual states. Note the percent of Pell-eligible students admitted. 

Identify the most affordable public universities when you visit 
Recruiting Online Students: 5 Key Points

If online student enrollment is important to your school, take time to review 5 key marketing points from a recent Learning House research report.

Pay special attention to "speed to enrollment is a priority" as most students make decisions in four weeks or less before enrolling and expect rapid response from the schools that interest them. The "need for speed" is important on your website and everywhere in your enrollment process.

More on demographics, cost, location, and alternative credentialing at 
Snapchat Advertising: Participate with Caution

AdWeek recently reviewed plans from Snapchat for a "colossal increase" in advertising driven by the need to achieve $1 billion in revenue.

In an age when millennials are skeptical of many forms of marketing and ad-blocking continues to be popular, potential advertisers, including colleges and universities, will have to move forward here with caution. As with any advertising, believable messages and targeting will be critical.

The detailed review of how Snapchat plans to roll out the expansion is at 
Content Marketing Strategy: 9 Mistakes Checklist

From the Content Marketing Institute itself, comes a much-needed article by Neil Patel on "9 Mistakes You Might Be Making."

The first two might seem obvious but in the rush to create and distribute content they are too often ignored: The content is not good and the content it is not useful. Review the infographic for a process to improve content usefulness. 

My favorite mistake was the last one: Content marketers too often ignore SEO criteria. Patel makes a strong case that the two approaches are not in conflict.

Given the popularity of "content marketing," this is essential reading at 
Website Design: The Perils of Hamburger Menus

Hamburger menus, those three little lines stacked on top of one another, seemed a perfect fit for the diminished space on mobile-friendly websites viewed on smartphones.

But not everyone agrees, especially now that the hamburger feature is migrating from smartphones to large screen website views. To keep things in balance and to understand what task completion obstacles you might be creating, read the Nielsen-Norman Group report on why "Hamburger Menus and Hidden Navigation Hurt UX Metrics" at 

If you do use the hamburger sign, add the "menu" word next to it. Not everybody yet knows the graphic.
Email Marketing: 7 Stats to Help Plan Higher Success

By now few marketers still believe the email is dead as an effective part of a marketing tool kit. 

But email certainly has evolved. To help stay up-to-date in your email campaigns, review "7 email stats you'll want to quote in your next meeting" at 
Most Popular Topic in June Newsletter: The Rewards of Creating New Logos

Once again, a Tom Fishburne cartoon won the most clicks, this time his take on the process endured and the results achieved in the creation of a new logo. Visit 
Be a marketing champion on your campus.

Bob Johnson, Ph.D. 
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC
Bob Johnson Consulting, LLC

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